KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La
Russa doesn't want to rely on three-run homers. Still, he's happy
to have them in bunches.
Albert Pujols, Miguel Cairo and Eli Marrero each hit three-run
shots as St. Louis beat the Kansas City Royals 11-3 Saturday night. ''They're nice to get when you get them,'' La Russa said.
''Early, that ball was carrying, we got one in the wind, especially
the one Cairo hit.'' Matt Morris (8-4) pitched eight innings, retiring his last 18
batters. He gave up two runs on four hits, walked one and struck
out eight. Morris rebounded from a rough stretch during which he
went 1-2 with a 6.14 ERA in his last four starts. He walked nine in
12 innings in his previous two starts. ''That was closer to himself,'' La Russa said. ''He's had some
good sessions with (pitching coach Dave Duncan). You're never
supposed to say he's there. It leaves you something to work for.'' Morris said the huge cushion he got from the St. Louis hitters
made a big difference. ''Any time you have a big lead, you're able to make mistakes and
get away with a run here or there. You're able to do some things
you couldn't do in a close game,'' Morris said. ''I threw some more
changeups and worked on my rhythm, because I've struggled a little.
You put up 10 runs and it's tough to lose.'' The Cardinals have won the first two games of the I-70 series, a
rematch of the 1985 World Series. The Royals dropped to a
season-worst 11½ games out of first place in the AL Central. St. Louis is 8-9 in interleague play against the state rival
Royals. Pujols, who played at Fort Osage High School in the Kansas City
suburb of Independence, Mo., was 2-for-4 with a walk. He is hitting
.571 in five career games against Kansas City with four runs
scored, four doubles and eight RBIs. He had 19 friends and family
in attendance. ''It always feels good to come up here and perform,'' Pujols
said. ''Last year we got swept. This year we came ready to play.
There's nothing special I do. I just try to see the ball and hit
it. I just put a good swing on it and whatever happens happens.'' Cairo's first home run of the season, a 402-foot shot into the
left-field bullpen, scored Tino Martinez and Edgar Renteria in the
second inning for a 3-1 lead. The Cardinals broke it open in the fourth. Marrero, Fernando Vina and Placido Polanco singled to score one
run. Affeldt got J.D. Drew to fly to center, then was lifted
because of a blister on his middle finger. Mac Suzuki came in and allowed a three-run homer to Pujols, the
major league-leading 80th home run given up by the Royals. The Cardinals got another run in the seventh on Mike DiFelice's
sacrifice fly, and Marrero hit his fourth home run of the year off
Cory Bailey in the ninth. Jeremy Affeldt (1-4) took the loss for Kansas City. He allowed
six runs on seven hits and three walks in 3 1-3 innings. ''(Affeldt) has an impressive arm,'' La Russa said. ''He just
struggles with his command. That's what's been Matt's problem.'' Kansas City went ahead in the first inning when newcomer Donzell
McDonald hit a double over Pujols' head in left field and scored on
Carlos Beltran's double. The Royals had a chance to score more, but
left the bases loaded when Brandon Berger struck out. McDonald made his Royals debut after being called up to replace
Mark Quinn, who was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a
strained left hamstring.
The attendance of 40,016 was the largest non-Opening Day
crowd since July 4, 1993, when 40,329 saw Kansas City play Toronto.
... Renteria scored the 500th run of his career on Cairo's home run
in the second. ... Pujols has hit eight of his 13 home runs in his
last 20 games since May 17. ... Royals hitting coach Lamar Johnson
was ejected in the fourth inning. ... Plate umpire Derryl Cousins
removed himself from the game in the top of the fifth. Cousins took
a foul ball off the thumb and forefinger of his right hand. He was
taken to a hospital for X-rays, which were negative. He was
replaced by second base umpire Andy Fletcher.